The future of Imagine Art is a live-work campus community where artists with and without disabilities will live, work, play and pray together. Imagine a multi-acre community that offers a variety of affordable housing options. Imagine tiny houses mixed with community housing and family houses. Imagine temporary housing for artists in residents or travelers wanting to experiencing daily life in the community. Imagine gardens being harvested and meals being served. Imagine studio spaces, big and small, inviting artists to create pottery, painting and glass or woodwork. Imagine gallery spaces sprinkled throughout the community; formal and informal, bringing beauty to reading nooks and garden paths. Imagine artists with disabilities thriving and leading the way to demonstrate inclusion. Imagine non-disabled artists finding purpose and gainful employment serving alongside residents with disabilities.
Why build it?
The 65+ artists in our community are family. Housing is a serious challenge and when systems breakdown we loose valuable members of our community. Aging artists are forced into nursing homes. Aging parents are forced to place adult disabled children into group homes, where choices for day activities can be limited. Poverty forces some artists to live in apartments that are infested with drugs and pests. Imagine Art sees opportunity to create a safety-net of security in affordable housing while continuing to build upon our vision of transformation in the context of community. Imagine Art is uniquely positioned as a leader, demonstrating a new model of community through inclusion. In March of 2017, Imagine Art secured contracts with Health and Human Services Commission to manage the HCS Medicaid Waiver program, providing supported home living to individuals with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities, ensuring a community based option.
State contracts with HHSC, coupled with the development of key stakeholders (non-profits, foundations, legislative leaders and city and state officials) are opening new doors to our future. We have developed a model has the power to change long-term care systems in Texas. By creatively leveraging public dollars, we are establishing an innovative community that meets the basic needs of our city while creating a place where many will thrive.
In March of 2017, Imagine Art established a partnership with the Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation. Together, we are developing a design model for an affordable live work campus. Tom Hatch, of Hatch+Ulland+Owen is partnering to provide conceptual design and serving as the architect for the project. Together, we are developing the concept and exploring land options. The project will be funded by public affordable housing dollars in partnership with county, city and state resources. Our vision is HUGE and our capacity is growing. For over 5 years, Imagine Art has been sewing into this vision; in prayer, in dialogue and through the exploration of paths and open doors. We recognize that God is able to provide beyond our "make-it-happen capacity". We are being positioned and made ready to manage what is built.
We are exploring a property, owned by the city of Austin and located on Tillery Street. The Neighborhood Affordable Housing Corporation is making the property available through an RFP process and Imagine Art is positioned to apply. Imagine Art has the support of both Council Member "Pio" Renteras, of District 3, and State Senator Eddie Rodriquez, both of whom are long-time supporters of affordable housing developments. The City of Austin's Economic Development Department is engaged, helping our team to navigate city resources for the purpose of creative placemaking.
Imagine Art's next level development of a live work campus is for the purpose of developing a model (pilot) site that serves as a demonstration of public-private partnerships that creatively leverage existing resources to create destination places where people with disabilities will lead in creative peacemaking for systems change. Imagine Art believes that our model is a viable resource for long-term, institutional care in Texas. CHECK OUT SMARTOWN.